Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Now here's a comic-book movie that should truly kick a**

As a very small part of my paying job, I have to compile the "movie caps," or summaries of those movies that are still surviving in Middle Georgia multiplexes, which brought me to this sad fact yesterday: Matthew Vaughn's "Kick-Ass" has already left Macon theaters.

Now, just to put that in perspective, I see a good deal (probably way too many) of movies, but outside the festival circuit I've seen exactly three very good to great ones this year: "A Prophet" (which damn well should have won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language flick), "That Evening Sun" with Hal Holbrook and Vaughn's sublimely silly "Kick-Ass" (actually, you should probably make that four, because I enjoyed Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" IN 2-D quite a bit too.) Which just makes it thoroughly depressing that "Kick-Ass" is gone in no more than a month.

Just to make it even odder, still vying for viewers' attention (though not mine) is "Death at a Funeral," quite possibly the most thoroughly unnecessary remake of all time (with stiff competition from the upcoming redo of "Let the Right One In.") Hell, even "Furry Vengeance" gets at least one more week.

Which finally brings us to today's rather glorious news: 20th Century Fox has signed a deal with Vaughn to direct "X-Men: First Class," with the mutant prequel already getting a release date of June 3, 2011. Bryan Singer, who had been originally booked to direct the flick and is still a producer, apparently made the case for Vaughn, so bully for him.

Though "Wolverine" was nothing but average, and that was unfortunately a massive improvement on Brett Rather's abortion that was "X-3," I'm still extremely confident that Vaughn can make magic from the origin stories of Professor X, Magneto and all their fellow young cohorts. As I've said here before, with "Kick-Ass" Vaughn created the best comic-book movie I've seen quite in many a year, so this should be nothing but tons of fun.

And when it comes to "Kick-Ass" the comic by Mark Millar, there's actually even better news on that front. Millar is teaming up with fellow funnypeople Jonathan Ross, Frankie Boyle and others to launch CLiNT, a new anthology magazine that I will certainly be subscribing to as soon as I can figure out how, especially since the first issue will featuring nothing less cool than "Kick-Ass Volume 2: Balls to the Wall."

Here's how Millar described his new venture in an interview with

“I want this to be edgy and irreverent, the kind of thing guys will be passing around lunch-halls and common rooms, and there’s nobody I’d rather have creating new characters for CLiNT than Jonathan and Frankie. They’re both brilliant writers and will surprise a lot of people with this stuff. The last thing you’d expect from Jonathan, for example, is a vampire strip, but he pulls it off amazingly. People are going to love this.”

OK, I'm officially in. Best as I can tell, the first issue of this will be available Sept. 2 in the UK and then will be available later by subscription in the U.S.A.

And now for something completely different ...

Though 2009's "Broken Embraces" wasn't one of Pedro Almodovar's best movies, it was certainly one of his funnest to watch, and the film noir works nearly perfectly as a valentine to moviemaking (well, more specifically, a valentine to making Almodovar movies, but the man's certainly earned the right to brag a bit by now, right?) If you haven't seen it, I recommend it very highly, and you can indeed rent it now.

And today comes word about Almodovar's next movie, which won't feature regular muse Penelope Cruz, but will mark a reunion with Antonio Banderas, who got his start way back when in Almodovar flicks like "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down" (man, do I love that movie.)

Their new project is called "La Piel que Habito" (literally translated "The Skin I Live In.") It's based on the novel "Tarantula" by Thierry Jonquet, which I'll now have to read, and is scheduled to shoot this summer in Spain and elsewhere. Ever the enigmatic one, Almodovar really didn't reveal much at all about what it's about when he first spoke of this to the Spanish daily El Pais (for you kids, that means daily newspaper, of course):

"The film will be a terror film, without screams or scares. It's difficult to define and although it comes close to the terror genre -- something that appeals to me that I've never done -- I won't respect any of its rules. It's the harshest film I've ever written and Banderas' character is brutal."

An Almodovar "horror" film? I'm already there. More specifically, it's apparently about a plastic surgeon's revenge on the man who raped his daughter, but if you know any more than that, please do let me know.

OK, all I have after that is two videos via my Facebook friends that are indeed just perfect for a Wednesday because they're guaranteed to make you nothing but smile and laugh (and if not, please do get yourself checked out as soon as possible.) First, courtesy of a head's up from Movie Mom Nell Minow comes the first teaser trailer for a movie called "Easy A." Coming in September, it will be an update on the classic "The Scarlet Letter," and as you'll see below it will star easily one of my favorite comediennes working today, Emma Stone. I won't tell you anything else about the teaser except that the Wall Street Journal's Kara Swisher called it and Stone both rightly "adorkable." Enjoy.

And what could possibly top that? The tagline for this last one, which came to my attention courtesy of Bob, just sums it up perfectly: "Bill Murray reads poetry to construction workers at Poet's House." It's a bit long at six minutes plus, but it really is a joy to watch man of the people Murray cutting up with all the working folk and reading, among other things, a poem by Emily Dickinson. Just the perfect thing to get you and me through even the most dreary of Wednesdays. Peace out.

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